Vegas Tournament Blitz


My son and I headed for Vegas on July 1 for our second trip in as many years. Bless our wives.

We flew nonstop from New Orleans on SW, everything was as expected -on time and full. We are both tall guys so add a little cramped, but it was worth it. We caught a cab to Harrah's which we choose because of it's central location. We had a "mini suite"- emphasis on mini but it was all we needed. It appears that they've redone the room recently and it had some nice touches. Think we paid around $700 for 5 nights. All in all I'd have to say that we were a little dissappointed with the "flagship" of the Harrah's fleet. Maybe it just couldn't overcome it's advanced age. (Maybe I should shut up since I'm not that young myself).

Great start to the trip, we landed around 8 headed to the room, dumped our stuff off and crossed the street to Treasure Island. A quick bite to eat at their cafe (very good) and off to the 10PM tourney. They had about 6 tables and 1st place was just over $1000. We both made the final table and my kid busted my KJ push with AA. I bubbled and he ended up winning the thing so he was on a freeroll for the rest of the trip.

The next day which was Thursday we headed over to the Hard Rock to check things out and play in their noon tourney. The room was awesome. The only problem was that there was just one table going and it looked very unlikely that they would have much of a turnout so we headed to the Orleans. What a pleasant surprise. They have a great room there and were really busy. (which was the exception for most places except for the weekend)We entered the $60 noon tourney and wouldn't you know it, my kid finished 4th and bagged another $400. We played at the Orleans 3 times since their noon tourney was such a good one. We then made a few Baseball bets and my kid won again. That night we entered the Harrah's Deepstack at 8 PM. What a great tourney. $150 for 10,000 chips and decent levels-I would say there was about 100 runners. I bust out as usual (see a pattern developing?) and after a while head to bed. About 1 AM my kid shows up and guess what-he chopped for another $1200. Counting BB bets and tourney's he's now got around $3000. Guess who's buying dinner for the rest of the trip?

Question here about chopping. At the final table my kid was the chip leader although not by much and with the blinds and antes growing it could change anytime. Anyway he was playing well and felt he could do pretty well against the table. After a few people got knocked out, the whining and crying about chopping finally become so loud that he finally said ok but didn't really want to do it. Does anyone have a good way to address that situation without being a jerk?

The next morning we played in a cash game at the IP and he took two nasty beats. First one was pocket A's to the flop with 2 diamonds. He pushed about $200 on the flop and got called by a 4 flusher. Of course the last d fell on the river. Since it was $100 for A's cracked he got 1/2 the money back. Second hand was involving a very loose player that would put out a $25 straddle everytime he was under the gun. My kid got pocket 5's and pushed. Guess what- pocket K's. Busted.

We headed to Binions for their $150 deepstack and I finished 37 out of 185 although it wasn't as good as it sounds. I went 4 levels with my best hand being 88. It was ugly. Their new room is very nice and it gives them room to run their tourney's in the old room. They ran a very good show and we enjoyed playing there a lot.

We then hustled over to the Venetian with the intent of playing in their 7PM tourney but got a little intimidated by the size of the field so played the Harrah's 8PM deepstack again. No luck.

We played at the Orleans 2 more times and one more at Harrahs as well as their midnight tourney which is a good one also. My kid cashed for another $100 at the Orleans and that was it. I was 0 fer. I am going to have to learn how to play 4 8o because I must have had 100 of them.

We visited the World Series on our last day and it was a kick to see. The place was jammed, in fact it was the day that they turned away around 500 players. That's a shame since the early days were not very busy.

We give thumbs up for Harrah's, Treasure Island, Binions and The Orleans. We enjoyed playing at all of them. We really didn't play any cash games other than the debacle at the IP, but we got our poker fix for the time being.

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  1. BargeGuy,

    Great report, and it sounds like you and your son had a great time.

    I don't know what was better, the fact you have a son who plays poker, or the fact you both have wives that stayed home and 'let you' go to Vegas on your own. Great stuff!! I have two younger sons who play a lot with me and I cannot wait until they are old enough to go and meet some Vegas people I have become friends with, and be able to test their poker skills out there!!

    It was cool to see you two hit the rooms I most frequent with the exception of the MIrage. I highly recommend you play there next trip, especially with them having new/excellent leadership there. The other recommendation is to go ahead and play the Venetian tourney next time. I was surprised to see you guys left there instead of giving it a shot. They run the best tourneys of anywhere I've ever played in my opinion...

    TI is my home away from home, and congrats to your son for taking down 1st place in a tourney there!

    To your chopping comment/question: If your son (who I'm assuming is in his early 20's and this was one of his first Vegas poker runs) felt pressured, I totally understand him feeling out of place, somewhat inexperienced, and ultimately agreeing to chop. He may have made a good decision as he may have lost a coin flip early, or taken a suck out and made less money. HOWEVER...all he has to do is say no. It's that simple. If people persist in whining/complaining, ask the dealer to call the floor over, and they will handle it. If the stacks/blind levels are still allowing for actual poker play, I don't like to chop at all--and won't-- regardless of other player comments.

    Thanks for the info on the Orleans noon tourneys--I look forward to giving them a shot in the future.

    Again, great report, and hope you make many more trips down the road!


  2. I had a similar situation in a local casino freeroll I was in last month. I made the final table and immediately everyone wanted to chop. I said no. They all griped. I said allowed "that's ok, I will be the a$$hole". We played a few orbits (with everyone gunning for me - i was 3rd in chips) and I finally agreed to chop...but not before making them all agree to pony up $40 of their chop each to tip the tournament dealers. :smile:

    Dealers loved it, and the players all eventually said it was a great idea.

    But like last guy said...if you don't want to, don't. If whining persists, "FLOOR!"

  3. Chopping doesn't always have to be even. If he had a chip lead he could negotiate an amount a bit higher than the rest of the players in the deal. Most people will understand and agree as long as it isn't unreasonable.

  4. I probably have about the least tournament experience of just about anyone here, so don't listen to me, but...

    Sounds like your son may have had above average equity in that prize pool out of proportion to his stack if he was at a table full of people so desperately eager to chop. I am shameless about being a troublemaker this way in one place where much of the field is freerolling into it. I don't play it even when I qualify, since the cash games are better without the freerollers, but in the cash games and at the rail beforehand I do make sure I clue in the weekend visitors who've paid to play it, who are otherwise not aware that so many others really just want to fold their way to the final table so they can promptly chop it up, arming them so they can use that information to steamroller the overly timid freeroll regulars if they choose. I always root against the "home team" and for a tourist to push them around and refuse to chop 'till the volume of the collective whining noise from Table #4 resembles a '73 Pinto that was overdue for a brake job decades ago.@GoinOnTilt Hey, that idea sounds better than great to me.

    @AlaskaGal Or alternatively, propose a chop agreement which is intentionally UNreasonable, like setting a high asking price for something you don't mind not selling to someone who is unnaturally determined to buy, or like making a calling station pay for his draw on the turn. If he pays it okay, if not okay, so call it or fold already, and that is the price if y'all want it so bad.

  5. @acetenguy

    I just had my first kid, hes 5 months old, and Im already looking forward to 21 years down the road when we can do Vegas together!

  6. Nice trip report. Next time your son is on that kind of roll, perhaps you should consider buying a piece of his action.

    I am also not a fan of chopping (Unless I'm short-stacked).

    I was heads up once in a tournament that paid $1400 & $800. My worthy opponent asked several times about chopping and I politely declined. Finally, when I had about 70% of the remaining chips, he asked again and I said I would chop acccording to stack size. He obviously wasn't keeping track of our relative chip stacks, because he agreed quickly. The look on his face was priceless when I said "Great, I'll take the $1,540 then". Needless to say, he never brought up chopping again. (Actually a couple of hands later, the tourney was over when my A-7 hit the 3-outer against his A-10.)

  7. Does anyone have a good way to address that situation without being a jerk?

    I know that if I'm the chip leader and anyone wants to chop, I tell them that we'll do it based on the percentage of chips each person has in their pot. Alot of the time this ends their wanting to chop the pot.

  8. Thanks for the kind words and suggestions regarding the chop situation.

    We're already looking forward to next year and maybe just maybe playing in one of the WSOP events. ( I know you'll all have your money on my son and not me-good choice.) :grin:

  9. Great report, thanks for posting it. I have been at final tables where I simply thought I was better than my opponents, even if they had more chips at the time -- so I didn't want to chop. Sometimes, I don't know if I'm better or not, but I want the thrill of victory.

    When in those situations, I demand a disproportionate share of the pot. When they inevitably ask why, I tell them that I think I am better than them (if I don't mind getting a hostile response), or I simply tell them I like the thrill of a final heads-up match.

    I would never call the floor supervisor. Let them cry. If they don't want to play to the finish, PAY ME!

  10. Actually, I think the mathematically "fair" way to chop is to first allocate everyone the payout for the lowest remaining payout, then allocate the remainder "at risk" according to the chips stacks. For example, if there are three folks left, with payouts of $500, $1,000 and $2,000, everyone would get $500, and the remaining $2,000 would be apportioned in accord with the respective percentages of the chips, so if the chips leader had 50% of the chips in play, he/she would get $1,000 of the remaining $2,000 ($1,500 in all), if second place had 30% of the chips, he/she would get $600 of the remaining $2,000 ($1,100 in all), etc. I believe that this allocation accurately reflects everyone's EV if the event were played out. Whether to accept EV or to negotiate a different payout, or to just play it out is an individual decision based on several variables. Personally, in your typical casino low buy-in event, I tend to accept a chop which pays everyone their actual EV, because usually, at that point, the players are of fairly equal ability, and the blind structure turns the event into a donkfest/ crap shoot. Ordinarily, with 20 minute or 1/2 hour blind increases, by that time the remaining three have stacks of about 10 big blinds or so each, and are either folding or shoving, probably with sub-premium hands like K-9 offsuit. and the outcome will likely turn on random luck--who gets a big hand or is card dead, and who catches a flop when the money is in. The payout structures are top heavy, so if you play it out, the three people who all beat the other (say) 70 contestants will have widely variant payouts based on random luck at the end, so a chop makes sense to assure that everyone gets a decent payday. Still,there's nothing wrong with declining to chop if you feel lucky, or the blind structure lets you continue to play poker at that stage, or if you want the experience or glory (or agony of defeat) of playing it all the way out. Another alternative, if you're so inclined, is to agree to a chop that flattens the payouts (say, $1,300, $1,200, $1,000 in my example above) but still lets you continue to play with a smaller amonut at risk.

  11. @MichMadDog

    Absolutely not. Thsi method is not the fairest method at all unless the players are heads up. I once read an article that explaine dthe math but I am unable to locate it online. But basically the reason is that when you are heads up assuming equal skill levels your chip countis a direct one to one relationship to your equity in the tournament, but in situation with three or more players you need to account for multiple payout places and different equities for each place. That while you hold 60% of the chips that does not mean you have 60% equity in each if the three places you could finish.

    in any event as evidence that your method does not work, it includes the possibility that the player with the largest chip stack receives more than the first place would payout if he won it. Suppose in your example the chip leader had 90% of the chips your method would allocate to him $500 + 90% of $2000 ($1800) which is $2,300 -- a mere $300 more than first place pays.

  12. I have frequently wondered what was 'typical' for chopping. More than once I have chopped by first picking a nominal amount that each person at the table would get regardless of stack size. After allotting a certain amount to the dealers and floor people for tips,the table would play for the remainder of the prize pool, all of it going to the winner. This seemed to work quite well, as people got to play for the thrill of victory (or agony of defeat) but still were in the money. This method seems to take a little bit of the various methods mentioned, and I personally like it. Just a suggestion.

  13. Thanks for the correction psand. You are right. The method I suggested works when the last two are heads up. For example if Player A has 75% of the chips, he is a 75% favorite to win--50-50 on the first hand, then, if he loses, the stacks are even and he's still 50-50, requiring Player B to win two consecutive coin flips (25%) to prevail. However, with multiple players, with varying shots at multiple places, the math is considerably more complicated. The "fair" chop between multiple players would depend on the number remaining, the relative stack sizes and the payout structure, as well as some strategic considerations. An 80% chip leader who plays aggressively, going all-in on any two cards, may be able to bully two 10% stacks who are striving to avoid 3rd palce and therefore folding everything but premium hands. However, this approach increases Player A's risk of ending up third. while he could virtually guarantee avoiding third place by playing very conservatively, knowing that the two 10% stacks will soon butt heads, leaving him heads up.If there are more than a few players remaining, or the stack sizes are widely divergent, a chop may not make much sense, because the small stacks still have an outside chance to get lucky (see my recent Trip report, "A chip and a chair"), and can choose to play ultra-tight to creep up the payout ladder, so they'll want something more than a few sheckels above the last payout place. And, the chip leaders can easily hit some bad luck and go out fairly early, so they can't demand too high a premium for their bigger stacks.The strategically correct approach would probably depend on how big the variations between the places are. Having said this, and acknowledging that there may be no universally perfect formula for all situations, some breakdown of the prize money "in issue"according to stack size, after everyone gets the minimum payout for the last remaining place, seems to be right for a multi-player chop, with some "flattening" of payouts to account for the risks and rewards of playing it out. I would be interested to see if there is ny chop negotiation for the Main Event final table, and how that's handled

  14. I believe the chopping depends entirely on the situation, the type of tournment, and the players at the table. I don't mind a chop if the blinds are so high everyone is going to start pushing. However, if the structure of the tournment is a deep stack and you have room to make moves and continue playing your normal style of poker, than by all means, don't chop. I've done it both ways before. I must also be honest and say that if I'm have a larger chip stack than I don't want to chop because I'm looking for a better payday. However, If I'm one of the short stacks than I look forward to a chop because I don't like making it that far and finishing with nothing.

    It's a double edge sword and depends on the players at the table.
    Good luck to all, hopefully I run into a few avpers aug. 19th - 21st.